Where Does Social Media Fit In?

When looking at online marketing; people very often forget the benefits of social media as related to actual business objectives.  More often than not, this is because a lot of marketers and agencies get lost in the creative execution of a social media campaign and forget that they are as measurable and useful as a regular marketing campaign.

What is the place of social media?

Social media is not going to act as a “sales channel” for your company. Social media fits into the decision making process during the  buying cycle 300x300 Where Does Social Media Fit In?“assessment of alternatives” stage. During this stage, users are typically looking on the internet for products or services that can answer to their needs in the best way possible.

Potential customers are searching and comparing different pieces of information and then interacting with online communities to ensure that they understand what they are reading correctly. They then further their understanding by asking any questions that they might still have.

These sources of info are blog posts, Twitter comments, Facebook groups, pages and then lastly websites.

Why are websites last?

The way that the internet has evolved has allowed users, both advanced and novice, to add their thoughts and opinions on to the internet. This means that company websites are no longer controlling the info that is online. Blogs and social media networks are created by users for other users. The content on here is written from a “client” point of view and has no marketing speak to confuse and otherwise convince users of the opinions that they should be having. This means that internet users looking for “real life” opinions on something are looking to social media.

Companies using social media

This is where social media fits into the online marketing strategy of companies today. It is the understanding that a company can no longer control a conversation, or at least be involved in each one. But your company can join in the conversation and correct any untrue comments.

Listening to complaints ad user comments allows your company to inject trust into the social group by showing that you take their comments seriously. Facilitating the conversation through your own company blog and other social media platforms makes your company approachable and able to capitalize on the online chatter.

Making it all work

Combining a social media campaign with more traditional SEO and PPC Marketing is a sure fire way to ensure that your company is using online conversation to its fullest. The social arena creates conversations around your products, service and brand. Your website then acts as the position of authority where users can navigate for additional information on your company once their information gathering has tielded the results they were looking for.

Understanding how to make social media work for you and achieve marketing objectives is critical to success with both your social media and your website.

Posted in Digital Marketing, social media | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments
  • http://nickduncan.co.za Nick Duncan

    Once again, great overview Jonathan. Social Media mixed with Online Reputation Management is a well-needed tool for any company trying to engage with their users.

  • http://badentrepreneur.bundublog.com/ Marc

    I disagree when you say that Social Media is not a sales channel.

    Love it or hate it, affiliate marketing is one of the fastest growing segments of advertising around the world. Look locally and see how many financial services and retail businesses are now cottoning on to the use of marketing via social media channels (blogs in particular) to generate sales leads.

    As a small business I would definately give a lot of consideration to affiliate (pay per lead or pay-per sale campaigns through blogs) to get the most for my limited marketing budget.

  • Jonno

    Hi Marc,

    I think we are looking at different sides of the same coin. I am saying that social media is not a traditional sales channel; which is why I had it in inverted commas.
    I am promoting the use of social media. If I wasn’t then I wouldn’t have a blog.

    What I am saying is that businesses need to be careful as to how they use social media to get the most out of it. Simply having a presence is not enough.

    I agree that small businesses in particular need to massage social media for all its worth; and get as much as is possible out of a small marketing budget.
    But they need to be smart about it and be very careful as a poorly executed social media strategy is in some respects worse than no social media at all.

    Thanks you very much for your comment!
    Jonno

  • http://badentrepreneur.bundublog.com/ Marc

    Fair enough.

    Just trying to emphasise that social media / social marketing can tie into the sales channel.

    Nice blog!